Finding that his conviction was unsafe, the Court of Appeal has ordered a retrial against 45-year-old Julius Brunker, who was in 2018 found guilty of breaking into a woman’s house and raping her at knifepoint.
The retrial came on the heels of an appeal filed by the 45-year-old man, who argued that the Judge who conducted his trial did not do so fairly and that his 40-year-old sentence was “severe.”
In quashing the man’s conviction, acting Chancellor of the Judiciary Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards said that the trial Judge admitted evidence that was highly prejudicial to him.
According to the Chancellor, the virtual complainant testified that apart from knowing Brunker from her neighbourhood, she also recognised him from being on ‘Court Round-Up.’
Owing to the nature of Court Round-Up, which air persons hauled before the Courts, the Chancellor submitted that the trial Judge should have specifically directed the jury on how to assess that bit of evidence.
Moreover, the appellate court found that Justice Morris-Ramlall had also erred when she did not adequately put Brunker’s defence to the jury.
However, due to the “strength” of the prosecution’s case and the serious nature of the offence for which the man is accused, his conviction was overturned, and a retrial was ordered.
It is the prosecution’s case that the virtual complainant came home from work at around midnight on February 14, 2014, and went to bed. However, at about 04:00h, she was awakened by noise from the television.
As such, she got up, turned off the television, and went back to sleep. However, not long after, she saw a man standing at her bedside, which caused her to scream. The man she identified as Brunker allegedly threatened to “bore her” if she did not shut up.